In the age of Covid-19, we are all dealing with the impacts of pandemic disease and emergency policy responses. This course assesses the political and security significance of infectious diseases, pandemics and public health. From the historical experiences with smallpox, plague and cholera, to the contemporary challenges posed by new diseases like HIV/AIDS and SARS or the Covid-19 pandemic, it is clear that pathogenic micro-organisms exercise a powerful influence over the security of people, societies and states. The course concentrates on areas in which human health and security concerns intersect most closely, including: pandemics; responses to fast-moving disease outbreaks of natural origin; the ethics of policy responses; and the relationships between infectious disease patterns, public health capacity, state functioning and violent conflict. The aim of the course is to provide students with a stronger understanding of the scientific and political nature of these problems, why and how they might threaten security, and the conceptual and empirical connections between them. Course activities and assessment tasks are designed to encourage critical engagement with this key policy challenge of our age. To this end, the course includes a comparative exercise on how nations respond to pandemics, and the insights of policy practitioners will be integrated with academic teaching.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Understand concepts related to infectious disease and health, with the ability to critically analyse them in a national security context
- Evaluate contemporary local, regional, and global challenges and policy options relating to infectious disease and health
- Critically analyse the responsiveness of security agencies and national policy to the security challenges posed by infectious diseases
- Communicate ideas and analysis that demonstrate both scholarly and policy-focused engagement with the subject matter
- Evaluation of a policy response to pandemic (30) [LO 1,2,4]
- Major research essay and Public Information Campaign (PIC) presentation to class (60) [LO 1,2,3,4]
- Online engagement (10) [LO 2,3,4]
The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.
Contact hours: 2 days (seminars) plus one extra day (seminars, consultations and public information campaigns)
Requisite and Incompatibility
A list of readings will be provided in lieu of a prescribed text
Ezekiel J. Emanuel et al, “Fair Allocation of Scarce Medical Resources in the Time of Covid-19”, New England Journal Of Medicine, March 25, 2020.
WHO, Surveillance strategies for COVID-19 human infection, World Health Organisation, 10th May 2020, https://www.who.int/publications-detail/surveillance-strategies-for-covid-19-human-infection
Berlinger et al, “Framework for Health Care Institutions Responding to Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19: Guidelines for Institutional Ethics Services Responding to COVID-19”, Hastings Center Report, March 16, 2020.
Meredith Celene Schwartz (ed) The Ethics of Pandemics, (Broadview Press, 2020)
Simon Rushton and Jeremy Youde (eds) Routledge Handbook of Global Health Security (Oxon: Routledge, 2015).
Kamradt-Scott, Adam, and Colin McInnes. The securitisation of pandemic influenza: Framing, security and public policy. Global Public Health 7, S2 (2012): S95-S110.
Schuchat, Anne, Beth Bell and Stephen Redd. The Science behind Preparing and Responding to Pandemic Influenza: The Lessons and Limits of Science. Clinical Infectious Diseases 52, S1 (2011): S8-S12.
Stern, Alexandra, and Howard Markel. International Efforts to Control Infectious Diseases, 1851 to the Present. Journal of the American Medical Association 292, 12 (2004): 1474-1479.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 3 units
If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees. Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.
Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.
|Class number||Class start date||Last day to enrol||Census date||Class end date||Mode Of Delivery||Class Summary|
|4666||01 Jul 2021||TBA||TBA||30 Sep 2021||In Person||N/A|
|4697||01 Jul 2021||TBA||TBA||30 Sep 2021||Online||N/A|